Press release

Young Brits can get Britain building

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Young Brits should benefit from the thousands of apprenticeships and jobs now up for grabs as housebuilders look to build more homes.

Builders at building site

Young Brits should benefit from the thousands of apprenticeships and jobs now up for grabs as housebuilders look to build more homes in the year ahead, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said today (5 November 2014).

Housebuilding companies are recruiting new workers at their fastest rate since 1997 – thanks to government-led efforts that have got Britain building. But today, Mr Lewis will argue that we should nurture young talent and encourage school leavers to help get Britain building.

Mr Lewis, together with Skills Minister Nick Boles and the Home Builders Federation, will host a top-level summit with leading housebuilders at the Olympic Park, Wednesday, 5 November, to see what more can be done to encourage young British workers to consider a career in construction.

Skills Summit

The 2008 housing crash caused a downturn in the construction industry which led to the loss of a quarter of a million jobs.

This government has introduced a range of measures to try and reverse that and deliver new homes across the country, including Help to Buy, which has led to a surge in business to the construction sector, with private housebuilding up a third in the scheme’s first year.

And radical reform of the planning system has given communities a greater say over how their local area is developed – meaning planning permission was granted on 630 homes a day over the past 12 months.

As a result companies are now hiring construction workers at the fastest rate since 1997, with the UK predicted to generate over 180,000 full or part-time building jobs before the end of 2018. But housebuilders have made clear that the lack of skilled labour is one of the chief problems faced by their industry and are in need of a range of building skills as well as site managers, surveryors, planners and designers.

At today’s summit, the ministers will meet the country’s major housebuilders, including Barratt, Berkeley, Bloor Homes, McCarthy & Stone and Taylor Wimpey to see how government can help them attract more youngsters people to be trained to work on our building sites.

Mr Lewis is also keen to attract more ex-servicemen and women to the industry – helping them start new careers on Civvy Street.

Brandon Lewis said:

Our efforts over the past 4 years have got Britain building, which means thousands of jobs – from plumbing to plastering, and from bricklaying to scaffolding – are now up for grabs.

Today I’ll be bringing together the captains of our construction industry to make sure young Brits can benefit from these new opportunities, so we can nurture our home-grown talent and build the homes we need for years to come.

Stewart Baseley, Executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said:

The industry is committed to working with government to ensure more of our brightest and most talented young people become the house builders of the future and the actions we have agreed today will help us achieve that. In the coming years we need to be building more of what are the best designed, most energy efficient homes in the world – and we need thousands of our brightest and most ambitious young people to help us deliver.

In return, our industry has a wide range of fantastic opportunities for young people, with career paths both on sites and in the office ranging from bricklaying to engineering, commercial management and design. Our young people develop skills for life, earn whilst they learn, and at the end of every day go home knowing they have achieved something fantastic that is contributing positively to the nation’s future.

The roundtable discussion will pose 4 questions:

  • what more can be done to help more school leavers and ex-military personnel consider careers in construction?

  • what more can the industry do to increase the numbers of work and apprenticeship opportunities, and to ensure more construction graduates get jobs in the industry?

  • what more can government bodies do to support this?

  • do new methods of construction offer new opportunities / challenges?

Further information

Construction contributes some £90 billion to the UK economy, and some developers are already increasing the numbers of jobs and apprenticeships they offer, including:

  • Persimmon, which has a dedicated team to help former soldiers start a new career in construction
  • Redrow, who have plans to start a new National Veterans’ Training Initiative
  • Crest Nicholson, who each year add up to 60 new apprentices onto their payroll
  • Countryside, who have increased their staff numbers by a fifth over the past year;
  • Barratt Developments, who are expanding their recruitment programme over the next 3 years for graduates, apprentices and trainees to 1,100 – in addition to 600 apprentices recruited over this and last year
  • Taylor Wimpey, who have doubled their intake across entry level trainee programmes in the last year, including trade and site apprenticeships, management trainees and graduates and plan to continue to expand these over the next 3 years

In August 2014 Housebuilder magazine published the findings of their 2014 SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis: ‘Skills shortages threaten industry growth’. (To view this article you will need to register with the website).

In one of the clearest trends in the industry, the challenge of labour and management shortages has rocketed to the top of the list of threats facing housebuilders.

The Home Building Skills Research Report 2013 highlighted a lack of new entrants to the industry and researched showed:

…there are now serious and widely held concerns about the current shortage of skilled people in UK home building, and increasing alarm about the availability of people with the right level of skills and knowledge…

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Published 5 November 2014